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At least 3 years back, some of the Journey Within girls took time to watch a 2 (or 4) set DVD program on Christopher West's teachings on Pope John Paul II's "Theology of the Body". Toward the end of the day and bombarded with all those intense knowledge, I was in awe at what a wonderful gift JPII left behind for us. I had this new found understanding of God's purpose in humankind, and how our appreciation of our body becomes a vessel for a deeper relationship with God.

Since then, a revised program of "Theology of the Body for Teens" by Brian Butler, Jason and Crystalina Evert was introduced to share this important topic to a younger audience. Back in World Youth Day 08', I had the chance to attend a full house talk by Jason and Crystalina Evert. What totally rocked me was how enthusiastic these kids were and their hunger to learn more about living right.

The Theology of the Body (TOB) strives to answer 2 fundamental questions in depth:
(1) What does it mean to be human
(2) How am I suppose to live my life in a way that brings true happiness

Today in church, 2 programs ran concurrently assisted by some awesome folks from Wonderfully Made!; a ministry dedicated to sharing Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body with young adults. For the teens we had "Live Out Love" and for parents, "Parenteens Seminar".

As soon as I reached the registration booth, Aunty Denise immediately wrote me a tag for "Live Out Love". I fell into the category of neither a teen nor parent! Having already some exposure to TOB, I figured I'd join the parents for a different perspective. To be very honest, I've never set through a 4 hour talk with parents discussing topics about their children. I signed up on the parent's sheet and there was this column for "Your Child's Name". I wrote "Not sure yet" and then told Aunty Denise and Uncle James how I thought that was pretty funny!

Last month, I had a casual chat with Terence and Gabriel after a vocation prayer session on their experiences with parents' attitudes to their kid(s)' well-being at catechism class. They were expressing how uninterested parents are these days. It's either they have no time or God is not as important... something else is. I shared with Vic on how I felt things have changed (from our younger days) and kids these days are facing a lot more issues with less guidance.

There was a surprising turn out for the parents seminar which was very heartening. The only problem was majority of the parents are already the active ones around church. Still there was were a couple of fresh faces and some fathers who came alone. Terence and I were noticeably out of place. I assumed I was since Michelle (one of speakers) started the session commenting that there are some very young faces in the audience; it's either we got married at 12 or we have the elixir of youth which we have to share with her!

The afternoon's program was was shared by Michelle Soliano (Principal Program Executive Education of Family Life Society) and Dr. John Hui (GP and presenter for Marriage Preparation Courses). Michelle was an entertaining, animated presenter sharing on the experiences of growing teens and educating parents on better communication and understanding. While John presented the medical facts about casual sex and its implications.

Take home notes of the day:
If there's one thing more misunderstood about the Catholic Church; is how sexual the church really is. The essence of what makes the Sacramental Body is truly fleshy, represented in bodily sense of the church's sacraments:

(1) Baptism - The body with water
(2) Confirmation & Holy Order - The body with oil
(3) Penance - Confession with our lips
(4) Eucharist - Eating and drinking of Christ's body and blood
(5) Marriage - Man and woman in "one flesh"
(6) Anointing of the sick - Laying of hand and anointing with oil

It thus makes visible though the union of Body & Soul, God's invisible mystery.

John Paul II studied the human body as a theology, the "study of God". The body is studied as a "sign" of the divine mystery, a way to understand God's communication with us.

The deepest meaning of human sexuality is our creation as male and female and our call to communion in the Eucharist. Best understood as Christ giving of his body to his bride, the church.

Simply put, (1) God is a communion of love (as in the divine trinity), so (2) we are destined to share in that exchange.

STYG will be starting a 12 week program for the "Theology of the Body for Teens" starting this Friday, 13 Feb. I've urged Iwan to do the TOB for adults which I hope response will be good to start a sharing group. Considering as much as I think I know of the TOB, I am only starting to scrape the tip of the iceberg.

As a refresher, I bought a copy of "Theology of the Body for Beginners - A Basic Introduction to Pope John Paul II's Sexual Revolution" by Christopher West. Great material so far and I've only completed Chapter One!

1 comment:

  1. Glad to know you have started on the book! :D I Couldn't really put it down once I started reading it last time.


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